#RoyalIndianExperience @ Shakahari, JW Marriott, Pune

Ever wondered how a royal dining would have been and what royals used to eat? I always did and it took me a trip to JW Marriott, Pune to understand that royal dining is less about royal food and more about a royal experience. As far as food it concerned, it is the authenticity that makes it royal.

A royal dining experience with authentic food is what makes Shakahari, a pure vegetarian restaurant at JW Marriott, Pune, distinct from others. Formerly known for its delicious Pan Asian veg. cuisine, Shakahari now showcases an entirely new theme of #RoyalIndianExperience, presenting a lavish menu based on authentic Indian cuisines inspired from regions of India with the royal monarchy.

Our trip to Pune started with light showers in Mumbai. While the atmosphere in Mumbai started becoming cooler, we received a warm welcome upon reaching JW Marriott, Pune. We were greeted with Kokum Sherbet to cool off after a tiring journey.

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After a quick introduction session with some of the key staff, we were ushered to the lunch table. The table was so meticulously arranged, we were reluctant to touch anything and make it unordered. Everything from the silverware, thali and cutlery, chutney and pickle container to the serviette and the ring had a royal touch.

Shakahari (PC: JW Marriott)
Shakahari (PC: JW Marriott)

We got started with a pour of Fratelli wines, a basket of papad/papdi, freshly cut salad, pickles and varieties of chutney like mint, peanut and plum which perfectly complemented the food.

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In starters, we had Dahi Wada, Palak Patta Chaat, Rajma Lasooni Salad, Palak Chawli Tikki, Beetroot Tikki, Besan Chilli and Amritsari Paneer. It will be almost impossible to describe the burst of flavors the dishes had so I will rather stick to what I liked the most. From starters, I liked Palak Patta Chaat and Rajma Lasooni Salad the most. The Palak Patta Chaat gave a typical crunchy chaat like experience and the Rajma Lasooni Salad had a hint of burnt garlic flavor in it which won many hearts.

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At Shakahari, the menu is continuously evolving and the restaurant follows the concept of dual cuisines. On the day we visited, the menu comprised Rajasthani and North Indian cuisines.

The Rajasthani main course included:

Ker Sanger ke Kofta
Rajasthani Ker, bamnera beans dumplings cooked in fresh tomato gravy.

Jodhpuri Gatta Curry
Steamed gram flour dumpling, cooked in spicy tangy hung yogurt gravy.

Subz Panchmel
Mélange of selected vegetables tossed in dry spices flavored with asafoetida.

Dal Bati Churma
Rajasthan special-lentil preparation and baked wheat flour dough served with ghee and jaggery.

Gatta ka Pulao
Spiced Gram flour dumpling cooked on dum with basmati rice.

Assorted Breads
Multigrain Phulka, Palak Poori, Ajwaini Poori.

I was trying Ker Sanger ke Kofta and Jodhpuri Gatta Curry for the first time and liked them both but it was Dal Bati Churma that I liked the most. perhaps one of the best I have had outside Rajasthan.

The North Indian main course included:

Dum Paneer Kasoori
Homemade cottage cheese simmered in rich tomato gravy, delicately flavored with fenugreek seeds.

Subz Makhmali Kofta
Vegetable kofta filled with dried plums, almonds simmered in a cardamom cashew gravy.

Pindi Chooley
Slow cooked chickpea preparation flavored with whole Indian spices tempered with dried pomegranate seeds, smoked with desi ghee.

Dal Shakahari
Overnight soaked black lentil, rajma, tempered with cumin, fresh garlic finished with white butter.

Gucchi Pulao
Long grain rice muddled with Himalayan morels flavored with whole spices.

Breads
Stuffed kulcha, Roti, Naan, Laccha Paratha.

Here, the spicy Pindi Chholey and Dal Shakahari along with Laccha Paratha is something I would recommend as ‘not-to-be-missed’.

No royal Indian meal is complete without desserts and Shakahari takes this to the next level. Shakahari provides a glimpse of what the Indian royal families would traditionally indulge in by having a ‘Mishtaan Bhandar’, a room full of sweets and desserts instead of a standard, run-of-a-mill dessert counter. Shakahari walks the talk by offering traditional Indian sweets instead of desserts and verities of Rajashthani Kulfi with a host of toppings instead of ice-creams.

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The dessert spread included Mango Rabadi, Malai Kulfi, Kesar Pista Kulfi, Moong Dal Halwa, Gulab Jamun, Lychee Gulla, Kaju Pista Roll, Moti Chor Ladoo, Kadambari, Badambhog and Ghewar.

Maharaj Jai Kishen
Maharaj Jai Kishen (PC: JW Marriott)

We also got an opportunity to interact with Maharaj Jai Kishen who carries over 4 decades of experience in the kitchen and is the energy behind crafting the new royal avatar of Shakahari.

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Chef’s Table in a private area

 

While we traveled from just Mumbai to Pune, Shakahari indeed embarked us on a much longer royal culinary journey by the overwhelming hospitality and authentic Indian cuisines inspired from princely provinces.

Shakahari - JW Marriott Pune Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

P.S. We were invited by JW Marriott, Pune to for #RoyalIndianExperience @ Shakahari.


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For that little pause – Pause Wines

Life can wait, as they say, a little pause in a life that is constantly in rush hour works more than just a stress buster. That’s the philosophy behind Pause Wines which has 100 acres of vineyards in Nashik and now has become a prominent name in the Indian wine industry.

For me, that little pause came bundled as two bottles of Pause wine, Cabernet Sauvignon and Indian Pearl.

Cabernet Sauvignon also known as the king of grapes is a french origin and most widely recognized red wine grape variety. The Pause Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied deep red wine. The tantalizing aroma of blackcurrant and berries triggers the senses while intense tannin of the wine engulfs mouth leaving a spicy aftertaste.

The Pause Indian Pearl is a white wine made from special blend of selected grapes. It has a fruity aroma, sweet fruity taste with a soft spicy aftertaste.

A glass of wine or not, friends, family or alone make sure to take a little pause!


Click here to know more about Pause wines.

An evening with Reveilo

“Appears to be a new entrant!”, was my reaction when I got an invitation call for an exclusive wine tasting event by Reveilo wines. A quick search on the internet was enough to change my notion.

The brand was established in 2002 and has around 215 acres of vineyards. In the Indian wine market, dominated by wines made from French grapes, Reveilo distinguishes itself with an exclusive range of estate wines made from Italian grapes along with various other range made from prominent French varieties.

While French grapes produce wines which are bold, dry and heavy on a palate, the Italian ones are easy, more suitable to Indian palate and good for pairing with Indian food.

What can be a better venue for a wine tasting event than Pali Village Café! Want to know why? Check it out here…

https://ftloffood.wordpress.com/2016/02/23/the-cafe-for-every-mood-pali-village-cafe-bandra-w-mumbai

Ruben Pinto, a wine expert from Reveilo was our host for the evening. He helped us understand the nitty-gritty of wine making, answered our most basic questions and helped clear-out undue complexity associated with wines.

We started with Grillo, a medium bodied white wine, also known as mafia wine for it is made from the variety of grapes originated in Sicily. With a blend of citrus, lemon, orange and grapefruit, this easy going wine is best suited for any occasion.

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Next in line was Chardonnay Reserve, a white wine. 9 months aging in French oak barrel gives birth to a great wine which has intense vanilla taste followed by fruity flavors.

Always the best companion
Always the best companions

In reds, Nero D’ Avola, another mafia wine, has a strong fruity aroma and spicy taste of pepper and cinnamon. This young wine is a good companion to enhance the taste of lightly flavored food. Similar to Nero D’ Avalo, the Tuscany variety Sangiovese too had a balanced spicy and fruity aroma with fulfilling taste.

The show-stopper for the evening was Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, 2012 vintage, made from French grapes and aged in French oak barrel. It is indeed a heavy and intense wine which fills the palate with a taste of berries and spicy notes of pepper and cinnamon.

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That marked an end to the fine wine tasting event but it doesn’t end here. We would love to try the Late Harvest Chenin Blanc from the Dessert Range.

For the Love of Food Recommends:

  • Grillo: Occasion or no occasion, with or without food, this easy going white wine suits every mood.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve: An aged red that can be considered for special occasions.

Find out more about Reveilo Wines and their wine range here… www.reveilo.com


I was invited by Reveilo Wines for the wine tasting session.